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Our Coaches

blanco

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Juan Blanco
Head Coach

(a.k.a. “Blanco”)

Photo by Toby Seifinger

Blanco is a CrossFit and Olympic Weightlifting coach, and an opera singer. Yes, CrossFitters sing opera!

As a child, Blanco was often called “husky” and always picked last in kickball. He battled with his weight, a struggle that would follow him into adulthood. Five years ago, weighing an impressive 280 pounds, Blanco found himself at a crossroads. In one direction was continued unhappiness and ill health. In the other was the hard road to fitness. After struggling through a series of false starts, including a diet named after a Miami beach and some questionable pharmaceutical remedies, he found CrossFit.

In the past five years, he has shed 100 pounds and is in the best shape of his life. If you want to see the kind of transformation that’s possible, ask to see his old photos. They’re pretty incredible, and as an added bonus you’ll get a great laugh from his Florida “frosted tips” hairstyle.

Blanco is truly happy to share his experience and help other people along the road to transformation!

Blanco’s qualifications include:

  • CrossFit Level 2 Trainer
  • CrossFit Speciality Trainer Courses:
    • Gymnastics
    • Kettlebell
    • Olympic Weightlifting
    • Endurance
    • CrossFit Kids
  • USAW Sports Performance Coach
  • USAW Advanced Sports Performance Coach
  • USAW Club Coach
  • CrossFit Olympic Weightlifting Seminar Staff
elizabeth

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Elizabeth Wipff
Lead Coach

(a.k.a. “Elastigirl”, “Bendy”)

Photo by Matthew Huber

www.strongandbendy.com

Elizabeth is a yogi-athlete, Yoga Tune Up® teacher trainer, and CrossFit coach known for helping students streamline posture, improve performance, and eliminate pain. She has been teaching in NYC and nationally since 1999.

Her athletic endeavors started early: she walked at 7 months, was roller skating at 3 and did her first yoga pose at 4! As a kid she played soccer and studied dance, Iyengar yoga, and therapeutic movement modalities.

This lifelong passion for deep practice and keen enthusiasm for learning has taken her from singing at Carnegie Hall to studying Weightlifting with Olympians. She shares that zeal with her students.

As a yoga instructor, Elizabeth has pursued multiple disciplines– Iyengar-inspired to vinyasa–and has taught for major fitness outlets including Equinox, Crunch and Sports Club/LA and 24-hr Fitness.

Elizabeth has presented trainings at YogaWorks studios and CrossFit boxes nationally and has been featured in Elle and Shape magazines. She writes about yoga and mobility for Greatist.com.

Elizabeth is thrilled to be able to unite her two passions–CrossFit and Yoga–and to be able to help athletes in the CrossFit community become stronger, healthier, and more powerful.

She lives in Manhattan and makes the trek to CrossFit Virtuosity for the love of the community and for access to her amazing fellow coaches.

Elizabeth’s qualifications include:

  • CrossFit Level 2 Trainer
  • CrossFit Speciality Trainer Courses:
    • Gymnastics
    • Kettlebell
    • Olympic Weightlifting
    • Mobility Trainer Course
  • USAW Sports Performance Coach
  • Yoga teacher trainings, including:
    • Yoga Tune Up®/Roll Model® Method Teacher Trainer
    • Yoga Union 300-hr with Alison West
  • Gill Hedley Compassionate Cadaver Lab (April 2015)
joey

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Joey Swidler
Lead Coach

(a.k.a. “Stix”)

Photo by Toby Seifinger

In 2008, Joey discovered CrossFit and it changed his world. Since then, he has learned how beneficial functional movement is to our daily lives. After seeing how it changed his own lifestyle, he wanted to give back and began coaching. As a coach for CrossFit, Olympic Weightlifting, and one-on-one training, Joey he has coached over 5000 hours of Olympic Weightlifting, CrossFit, and teen strength and conditioning classes.

Joey specializes in Olympic Weightlifting, and is one of the two head coaches of the Brooklyn Barbell Club Olympic Weightlifting team. Joey has coached athletes at several national level competitions, as well as countless local meets. He is currently a member of the CrossFit Weightlifting traveling seminar staff.

Joey thoroughly enjoys working with individuals of with any level of athleticism. He particularly enjoys working with teens, where the goal is not only to build a solid foundation of fitness but to instill values of dedication, community, and hard work. He is also one of the few Level 3 CrossFit coaches in New York City, as well as across the country.

Joey’s qualifications include:

  • CrossFit Level 3 Trainer
  • CrossFit Speciality Trainer Courses:
    • Gymnastics
    • Kettlebell
    • Olympic Weightlifting
    • Nutrition
    • CrossFit Kids
  • USAW Sports Performance Coach
  • USAW Advanced Sports Performance Coach
  • USAW Club Coach
  • CrossFit Olympic Weightlifting Seminar Staff
ariel

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Ariel Fernandez
Lead Coach

(a.k.a. “Candi”)

Photo by Toby Seifinger

The myth of Ariel Fernandez begins in Queens, New York, where he is rumored to have grown up amongst many brothers (perhaps as many as 5!) Details are sketchy, but we hear he attended Baruch College, and played baseball in the minor leagues (a story that may serve to explain his immense strength.) A true New Yorker, Ariel still lives in Queens and subjects himself to the horrors of the LIE and the BQE to bring us his coaching magic.

As a member of Team Virtuosity, Ariel went to the CrossFit Games in 2014. His training regimen is impressively extensive. He claims to be training for the 2016 Games season, but we suspect he’s really trying to steal away the strongest+stretchiest coach crown away from Elizabeth: we’ve seen him get absurdly close to full splits, as well as front squat over 400lbs.

Ariel’s qualifications include:

  • CrossFit Level 2 Trainer
  • USAW Sports Performance Coach
  • 2014 CrossFit Games Athlete, Team Virtuosity
rob

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Rob Swayze
Lead Coach

(a.k.a. “Swayze”, “McFly”, “Handsome”)

Photo by Toby Seifinger

Rob is a complete mystery to all of us. One day in about 2010, he appeared out of nowhere and wowed us with his kettlebell skills and uncanny resemblance to Patrick Swayze, so we decided to keep him. As a bonus, he now comes with a hot wife and an adorable kid*.

From our observations of Rob in the wild, we hypothesize that he is very knowledgable in the areas of building strength, gymnastics, working with athletes who are rehabbing injuries or have movement restrictions, and tattoo art.

*If you see a toddler running around doing handstands and l-sits on things, please return him to Rob.

Rob’s qualifications include:

  • CrossFit Level 1 Trainer
  • USAW Sports Performance Coach
  • Functional Range Conditioning Movement Specialist
  • CrossFit Speciality Seminars:
    • Weightlifting
    • Gymnastics
  • Jiu-jitsu Competitor
  • Former Russian Kettlebell Challenge
  • Former Girevoy Sport Competitor
kyle

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Kyle Fincham
Lead Coach

(a.k.a. “The Muscle-Up Whisperer”)

Photo by Toby Seifinger

Kyle grew up on the north shore of Lake Tahoe where he spent most of his time skiing, or praying for snow. His coaching career began at sixteen when he was hired by the local race foundation to teach its youngest shredders.

Kyle began teaching “bootcamp” classes and personal training when he realized dog walking in the winter wasn’t fun. Wishing to develop knowledge for the newfound career, he wandered into Crossfit Virtuosity to find someone to teach him gymnastics. As they say, the rest is history. He joined the coaching program soon after, and is thoroughly inspired by the coaches and athletes he has the privilege to spend his days with.

Kyle’s qualifications include:

  • CrossFit Level 2 Trainer
  • CrossFit Gymnastics Trainer
  • Student of Ido Portal
emily

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Emily Buckley-Matura
Lead Coach

(a.k.a. “Mighty Mouse”)

Photo by Toby Seifinger

www.emilybuckleyfitness.com

Emily was born and raised in Brooklyn, where she spent the majority of her youth playing every sport possible in the streets of Park Slope. She was recruited to play soccer and lacrosse at the University of New Haven. In an effort to stay in shape during the off season, Emily found CrossFit and started training at CrossFit Virtuosity when she was home for summer break from college.

After graduating college, Emily moved back to NYC and started training with the competition team at CFV, which eventually brought her to the most amazing experience of her life: competing at the 2014 CrossFit Games on Team Virtuosity.

Soon after the Games, CrossFit officially took over Emily’s life when she joined the coaching program and started working full time at CFV.

Emily also competes in Olympic Lifting for Brooklyn Barbell Club and is nationally ranked 20th in her weight class.
Emily’s qualifications include:

  • CrossFit Level 1 Trainer
  • 2014 CrossFit Games Athlete, Team Virtuosity
mike

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Mike Christman

(a.k.a. “Hammertime”)

Mike is a CrossFit OG. He’s been doing CrossFit since 2009, working out with us here at CFV since 2010, and coaching for us part-time since 2011.

After competing in wrestling, track, basketball and football in high school, Mike fell upon hard times athletically speaking, spending his college career and several years afterwards “doing nothing, getting fat, and drinking a lot.” His return to form was an uphill battle, not made any easier by his former career in finance: he knows first hand the struggles of all you desk jockeys out there!

Mike particularly enjoys coaching new athletes because he gets to see them discover how fun and amazing CrossFit is both physically and mentally, and lend a helping hand when things seem a little daunting!

Mike’s qualifications include:

  • CrossFit Level 1 Trainer
  • CrossFit Speciality Trainer Courses:
    • Kettlebell
reggie

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Reginald Lominy

(a.k.a. “Tank”)

Reggie has been a Virtuosity fixture since he joined our youth athletic program as a bright young 16-year-old looking to supplement his wrestling training with a strength and conditioning program.

After competing in wrestling throughout high school (and reaching a rank of 3rd in NYC!) Reggie turned his attention to Olympic Weightlifting. His passion and natural aptitude for the sport has led him to great success: he ranked 9th at Junior Nationals in 2014, and 11th at University Nationals in 2015, in addition to winning several local competitions.

Reggie began coaching for us as an assistant in 2012, and has grown into a passionate and dedicated member of our coaching staff. He is currently a student at Baruch College.

Reggie’s qualifications include:

  • CrossFit Level 1 Trainer
noelle

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Noelle Nieva

www.brooklynbodyshop.com

Noelle began her strength journey after she gave birth to twins, and found herself carrying around two increasingly heavy babies-slash-weights. Her resultant shoulder pain led her to an exploration of bodywork that (in typical Noelle no-half-measures style) became a career, turned her on to the world of physical culture in general, and eventually led her to try CrossFit with us.

In addition to being one of the most gifted bodyworkers we’ve ever had the privilege of having torture massage us, Noelle is a natural coach. She describes her coaching style as “your badass mom,” so expect some tough love!

Noelle specializes in working with older athletes, particularly women. She dreams of a world full of strong, kick-ass 40-, 50-, 60-, 70-, 80-, and 90-plus year-olds who are fully embracing their physicality and staying self-sufficient throughout their golden years!

Noelle’s qualifications include:

  • CrossFit Level 1 Trainer
  • Bodywork Certifications:
    • New York State Licensed Massage Therapist
    • Trigger Point Therapy
    • Orthopedic Medical Massage
    • Tui Na
    • Thai Massage
    • Myofascial Release
    • Sports Massage

devin

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Devin Kittle

Devin was introduced to CrossFit by a fellow baseball teammate in college who came across main site crossfit.com. After toying with CrossFit throughout college, he got serious about it after graduation. He watched pretty much every video in the CrossFit Journal and taught himself many of the basic movements.

After Equinox frowned upon his wall balls, handstand pushups, and cycling through multiple barbells, Devin found CrossFit Virtuosity and never looked back. After playing four years of college baseball and competing in 3 sports throughout high-school, it gave him something to continue to compete at.

Devin joined the CFV coaching program to both hone his skills and to help others in their athletic journey.

Devin’s qualifications include:

  • CrossFit Level 1 Trainer
  • CrossFit Speciality Seminars:
    • Olympic Weightlifting

kim

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Kim Alpert

(a.k.a. “Paleo Spice”)

Kim’s first taste of CrossFit was a free intro class at a gym in the city. After a 5 minute talk, they put her through a 12 minute AMRAP of strict pull ups, kettlebell cleans, and sit ups. Needless to say, she was terrified. Six months passed before she decided to give it another go, this time at Virtuosity, and this time it stuck.

Kim signed up for On Ramp, and was quickly hooked. The only problem: she was leaving for a semester abroad immediately afterward. She decided that she needed to leave her mark on the leaderboard so that we would remember her while she was away. When Karen was programmed the day before she left, she was ecstatic. She completed the WOD with an 8lb ball in the morning and decided to come back later and do it RX, in record time. She came back at night after a power nap and protein shake, ready to kill it. 3,2,1..GO! She got about 30 reps Rx before the time cap was up. It probably took the entire eight months she was in Spain for her quads to recover, but she joined CFV when she returned to the States and hasn’t looked back since!

Kim’s qualifications include:

  • CrossFit Level 1 Trainer
  • CrossFit Speciality Seminars:
    • Olympic Weightlifting

Founders

Samantha Orme

(a.k.a. “Good Sam”)

Sam founded CrossFit Virtuosity and is its current owner. She is part office manager, client services manager, human resources director, art director, event planner, tech support, construction manager, handyman, and accountant, and hence has all the real responsibility around here.  She is a CrossFit Level 2, CrossFit Kettlebell, CrossFit Olympic Weightlifting, and CrossFit Endurance Trainer, as well as certified by USA Weightlifting as a Sports Performance Coach.

A couple years back (while it was still relatively easy to do) Sam competed at the CrossFit Games Northeast Regional competition as an individual. A couple years before that, she decided on a whim to ride a bicycle across the continental United States and against all odds emerged unscathed.  Somewhere in between, she ran a half marathon and found it far more challenging than the 4,000 mile bike ride.

As a former web developer at the Metropolitan Museum of Art as well as several start-ups, Sam understands how hard it is to prioritize health and fitness, and spends most of her time trying to make this gym the most awesome possible place to escape to!

Keith Wittenstein

Keith Wittenstein

(a.k.a. “Panda”, “Tyler Durden”, “The Mayor of CrossFitTown”)

Keith founded CrossFit Virtuosity.  He just so happens to be the only Level 3 CrossFit Trainer in the New York area.  Apparently that means he’s pretty badass.  Keith has been personally invited to coach at certification courses by luminaries such as Mark Rippetoe, Mike Burgener, Jeff Martone, and Jeff Tucker. He’s a member of the CrossFit Level 1 Seminar Staff, which means he is an Official Source Of CrossFit Wisdom, and gets to wear a pretty snazzy red shirt.

Before founding CrossFit Virtuosity, Keith founded CrossFit NYC, the first New York CrossFit affiliate, and the eighteenth affiliate nationwide.

Alumni

Gregg Martino — was Lead Coach, CrossFit Virtuosity; now Head Coach, CrossFit ONE Nation
Matthew Bernstein — was Lead Coach, CrossFit Virtuosity; now living the dream in Boulder, Colorado
Justin Algera — was Lead Coach, CrossFit Virtuosity; now living the dream in Charlotte, North Carolina
Jay Hachadoorian — was Associate Coach, CrossFit Virtuosity; now Head Coach, CrossFit Gantry
Mario Barraza — was Assistant Coach, CrossFit Virtuosity; now Owner, ISLA CrossFit
George Lee — was Assistant Coach, CrossFit Virtuosity; now Owner, Bushwick CrossFit
Nathan Barnett-Herrara — was Assistant Coach, CrossFit Virtuosity; now Coach at CrossFit Cayman

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